I would definitely stick to solid state or hybrid amps. These speakers need alot of current. The 2 amps you mentioned would be fine. Other considerations would be Pass Labs,Blue Circle,Parasound.
Jayarr, thanks for your input as you can probably tell I am not well versed in the electronics end of thos hobby. Would you favor one of the amps you mentioned or my previous considerations? If you or anyone else out there has the time I am open for an education.
I've a friend with 20/20s a most awesome speaker system when you add a Krell KSA 250 to the mix. This amp makes these babies thunder and purr. The soundstage is wide and well defined and the bass/transients/vocals are to die for.
Krell, Mac , or Classe, all would do the trick, just a matter of your personal preference.
you wouldn't happen to know where to find one? I've read on other threads about the 250 but I never spoke to someone who actually listened to them with the Focus.
Did your friend bi-wire, bi-amp? Room type comes into play... My listening area is 20x15 but one end at the length opens into the foyer.
The Mac I am looking at is a valve , the 275, @ 75 watts do you think it will have enough to push these babies or should I look toward the Solid state Macs?
I would agree with the others who recommend a powerful SS amp. Don't let the higher sensitivity of the Focus fool you into thinking a low powered amp will do. Those (3) 12 inch woofers create quite the back EMF and sound best with a powerful high current SS amp, IMHO. I'd also recommend something like the Krell KSA-250, Classe CA-400, Jeff Rowland 8, or a pair of Threshold SA-10e's. These old beasts will slap those 12 inch woofers into place and keep them under tight control. My Clayton M100 monoblocks would do it too, but you probably won't find a pair of them.
If you like the Mac sound look for a MC-402, MC-500 or a pair of MC-501's.
How difficult is it going to be for me to find one of these amps ?
It seems that the owners just hang on to them
How difficult it is depends on how flexible you are between models/prices/condition.
There's always something out there that would do the job nicely. Here are just a few. Krell KSA300s Classe CA-300Plinius SA-250 mk IVMcIntosh MC402
Any of these should control those woofers well. See how easy shopping is?
If you don't like these, place a wanted ad. I've found stuff I was looking for this way too.
My best advice would to just be patient and do your homework. Search the archives here and at AA. The best deal may not be there right now. Be ready when one appears.
A Sunfire Signature is a worthy amp to consider for these speakers. It is very high in current capacity, can drive any load that you throw at it and offers the versatility of two slightly different sounds via the voltage and current taps. One can use the voltage taps to feed the woofers and the current to feed the tweeters. This approach maintains excellent woofer control and at the same time, slightly softens the top end of these somewhat bright sounding speakers. The fact that these amps are still in production by a company that isn't in any type of financial woes, along with the fact that they can be found on the used market, should help ease your conscience. The fact that they can be run in single ended ( RCA ) or balanced ( XLR ) mode also adds to their versatility. As a side note, i think that they work much better in balanced mode and would recommend using them in that manner.
Depending on what you want to do, you could go with a Sunfire Signature, which is a two channel amp. It is rated at 600 @ 8, 1200 @ 4 and 2400 @ 2. Another option would be to go with the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature, which is a five channel amp. Power ratings for this amp is 400 x 5 @ 8 ohms, 800 x 5 @ 4 ohms, etc... Using this amp, you could bi-amp with four of the five channels. This would give you 1600 wpc @ the nominal 4 ohm impedance of these speakers, which they can really use. On top of that, the sound should be even better as you've separated the demands of the woofer channels from the demands of the mids and treble. With the multitude of drivers that these speakers have, this is sure to be of benefit. You would also only be running four of the five channels of the amp, which would result in a stiffer power supply under even the worst of conditions.
As a side note, we've tried quite a few amps with my Dad's Legacy's and found the Sunfire's to work very well with them. Combined with Goertz MI-2 Veracity speaker cabling, he told me that he's never had a system that sounded this good before.
One word of advice regarding this and the other amps mentioned. You will need AT LEAST a good 20 amp AC feed just for the amplifier IF you want to obtain good results. You can't expect to produce high power with gobs of current if the amp isn't fed what it needs to do the job. The fact that the Sunfire is capable of delivering as much if not more power than any of the aforementioned amps while generating a small percentage of the heat may also be of interest to you. Sean
Gentlemen I thank you for tons of information...I am somewhat overwhelmed at this point but I will try to absorb and Apply this acquired knowledge to my purchase. Again thanks too all. Particularly to Sean who gave me positive and objective info on a speaker that I know you are less than fond of ( I have been reading your old threads). I 'll be back with my results , if anyone should come across something that would be right for my needs please contact me.
John,thanks for reearching the for sale amps... Greatly appreciated and I am doing my homework.
I don't know off hand where you could find one, but I've seen several on Audiogon in the last couple of years. If one becomes available, jump on it, even if it has issues, Krell will put it right without charging an arm and a leg. You'll have a classic that probably can't be bettered easily without spending lots of $$$$!
Well, from what i can gather, Dan has purchased a Pass X250 amp. How do you like that combo, Dan? Sean
Hybrid amps are a combination of a tube driver stage with a solid state ouput stage. They tend to be a little warmer sounding than their completely solid state competitors. As other people have mentioned, any of the amps mentioned so far would work well with the Focus. BTW, I owned and enjoyed Focus speakers for 7 years. Another amp I forgot to mention is Belles. Don't consider an amp with less than 100 watt/ch unless you listen at low volumes. I wouldn't obsess over one amp brand but consider several then wait until one of them comes up on Audiogon for a good price.
If you want to hear every instrument in an orchestra throughout the play of a disc, even all in the violin section, then please consider the H2O Signature monos, $5,500. Read audiofankj's review here:
Sean, has definetly been looking around... Yes I purchased the Pass X250. I like the amp very much. Alot more detail than the CJ and the Bass has tightened up. Overall a little bright but I think that was the preamp. I put my PV12L up for sale along with the MF2200.anD I am waiting for the Pass X1 that Ranger audio HAD for sale to arrive.
Again, I could not have done this without the help from the pros on this forum.
Flyfisher: Your mentioning this reminded me of something i overlooked in my previous comments in this thread. My Father REALLY loved when i brought over a Nelson Pass built & designed amp for him to use. It sounded very sweet, airy, delicate and liquid within his system. I remember him saying that it was the most impressive amp that he had ever heard, but he was disappointed in the lack of "oomph" on the bottom end. This was prior to me modifying his speakers, replacing the speaker cabling, changing preamps and swapping out interconnects in his system though. In effect, he had a very different sounding system than he does now.
As i've commented in the past, i've never found any of the Pass designed amps to have "bottom end wallop" that some other amps deliver. The bass does sound very "natural" even though it lacks "slam" and "impact". The newer .5 series of amps are supposed to address some of these areas and there is no reason that you couldn't impliment some of these changes / parts upgrades to the existing X250 that you have. Either way, you have a very nice amplifier as it is and i'm glad that you like it.
I would look carefully at the cabling that you use between the amp and the speakers. This can really make a huge difference in my experience, regardless of those that say that speaker cables are all the same. Making sure that you also have a 20+ amp circuit to feed the amp and a good quality power cord will also add a bit more icing to the cake, which may be all that you're looking for. Sean
I have a dedicated line which I had put in for audio purposes years ago. Since then we have rearranged furnishings and plugging the amp into this outlet would require a 12 to 15 ft power cable. Is this too long?
Well, I would think if it's a little bright, selling the CJ and buying the X1 won't help things. I've never heard of a CJ preamp considered to be the source of brightness. Maybe a Cary SLP-98 will smooth out that Pass. I love most of Pass' work. I love his old Threshold gear. I love his Aleph series for Pass, the X series I found a bit more sterile. I understand the XA-series is supposed to help address that issue.
So long as you can maintain solid connections and minimize voltage drop through the cord, i don't see any problems with doing so. After all, other than an extra point of connections, it would be the same thing as running longer Romex to a closer outlet.
As to mating an amp to a preamp from the same manufacturer, i typically find this to be too much of a good thing. That is, the engineers / designers that built the gear typically have a specific sound or type of circuit design that they like to use. This typically results in a "house sound". Compounding multiple components with the same house sound can result in an over-abundance of that sonic signature. That is, unless you REALLY like that sound. As such, i typically find better results by mixing and matching components.
Others may bring up the point that one has a better chance of finding "system synergy" by using gear that was designed to work together from day one, but as mentioned above, i find that there are potential drawbacks. Obviously, how noticeable this is will depend on the individual components and / or manufacturer of the gear. Cosmetically speaking, it's typically hard to beat using the same manufacturer for multiple pieces of gear, but in my book, cosmetics come second to performance. Sean
I appreciate all your responses regarding the preamp. At this point I am just waiting to receive it. I was told I would get it by Friday so I will be posting my feelings once it is up and running.
The CJ has brand new tubes , I guess that could be a contributing factor to the reason I find the system a little on the bright side. Also my cables are new...
Flyfisher - If you happened to be a little south of home, come on by and listen to my Focus with the McIntosh MC352. My room needs some work acoustically (I am working on that part), but I find the sound to be full and relaxed, not "in-your-face" compared to other amps I have had.
Sean makes an interesting point though, and one that makes me hesitate going all McIntosh. I worry about the relaxed sound could become a lazy sound (even I laugh at what I write sometimes).
Dave, Thanks for the offer I just may take you up on that one of these days. I received the X1 and the wife loves the sound , me... lets just say the jury is still out. Too many variables on this one. I am playing with cables,etc,but it should come together.
With mine I am running the Anthem Statement P5 and love it. Add this to your list.
my father has his 20/20 powered by Classe 500w...they really sound amazing with large scale complex orchestra and jazz.